In a new series of interviews we not only want to hear the views of Carlton past players but also promote their business activities and at the same time promote the SOC business directory which not only aims to connect Carlton past players with each other in terms of business connections, but also to connect Carlton supporters with Carlton past players. After all, when choosing between two products or services always choose the one produced by a Carlton past player!
The SOC business directory can be found here: http://spiritofcarlton.com.au/blog/business-directory/
Any past player can become a member of the SOC and add their own business. In fact if you would like to be the subject of an interview such as this contact email@example.com or contact Jamie on 0403907997.
Peter Fyffe played 19 senior games for the Blues from 1970 to 1973. He would later complete a successful career with Castlemaine, playing in their 1984 premiership and being named as one of Castlemaine’s 25 greatest players and a member of the Bendigo leagues team of the 1980s.
Q: What are your memories of your time at the Carlton Football Club?
My memories of the Carlton FC are still vivid and very wide-ranging. As you would expect every player’s experiences and memories are different and very personal, but here goes…As a country kid from Newstead (near Castlemaine) I was invited to join the Blues in 1970 at the age of 18. It was like moving to a different planet! From the farm life of fishing, footy and fast cars I was suddenly transported to living on the corner of Sydney and Brunswick Roads with traffic, noise, crowds and a much faster and exciting way of life.
My move from Newstead to Princes Park was like dream come true. I couldnt believe I was meeting (and training and playing football) with the likes of Ron Barassi, John Nicholls and Alex Jesaulenko. These people were my sporting heroes and I was suddenly part of it all. In my first year (1970), mainly with the then Reserves , the Carlton senior team won the Grand Final. As a member of the Senior List, I was lucky enough to be included on a world tour at the end of the footy season with the Carlton FC and a VFL Team of Champions playing exhibition matches in many countries. What an experience!
Although I played the majority of my 4 years of footy at Carlton with the Reserves (Seconds) there was a very inclusive culture between the Firsts and Seconds senior list players. My memories of Saturday nights at “Nicks Nightclub” having a few beers with Doully, “Jack” O’Connell, “Curly” Austin, “Crackers” O’Brien and “Ocker” Warburton are still very strong. The Carlton FC provided a fantastic culture of support, ambition, success and cameraderie which still exists to this day, mainly through the Spirit of Carlton (Past Players and Officials group).
Then along came the Bendigo Boys such as Geoff Southby, Rod Ashman, Ray Byrne, Peter Hall, Greg Kennedy and many others. What a pleasure to train and play with such gifted players. Like most past players I sometimes dream of what could have been, but mostly I reflect on how lucky I was to be part of an era of such success and talent in the early 1970’s at the Blues.
Q: What does the club mean to you?
The Carlton FC means success, tradition, loyalty and a heavy dose of expectation. The professionalism surrounding the club way back in the 1970’s was groundbreaking. We had a fitness coach (much despised – not really, we loved George), club doctor (Bill B), club physiotherapist (“Bruv” Luke), committee members who were allocated a country recuit to look after, and many other support staff who were always helping and supporting the playing group. Players (Firsts and Reserves) were made to feel professional and valued and we usually reciprocated with on-field (and off-field) performance.
I truly value and have great pride in the navy blue jumper, the Carlton logo, and the club song – even after 40 years. The “club” means exactly what it is – a group of people (players, coaches, committee, support staff, wives and girlfriends) who all share a special bond of being involved with an elite and successfull sporting tradition whose history spans 150 years. The club is really all about the good friends you make and hopefully continue those friendships.
Q: In your playing days did you have plans in place for your post football career?
None whatsoever. In the ’70’s, all players worked or studied. Before going to Carlton I had decided to go to RMIT University to study Microbiology. Footy was something that got in the way of my studies. As a young player with Carlton I didnt think much about the future, it was “live for now – the future will take care of itself”. After 4 years, and a knee injury, I was traded for a young buck from Tasmania – Greg Towns. I didnt consider my footy future much at this stage, I just sort of ended up playing for Cooee in Tassie then went to Castlemaine and finally finished at Northern United in Bendigo where we won 2 premierships.
Q: What was the catalyst for the formation of your current business?
My current business is a winery called Glenwillow Wines. About 15 years ago with the help of my brother Malcolm, and our families, we planted 7 acres of grapevines on the family farm near Yandoit (near Castlemaine). At this time I was still working full time as a water scientist for the local water authority, Coliban Water. I wanted something useful to do in my retirement, and I liked wine, so starting a vineyard from bare paddocks seemed like a good idea. We ploughed the paddock, cut down trees for vineyard posts, installed the vine wires, planted vines all with the help of a few mates (and a few beers).
Q: How is your business going and what plans are there for the future?
Glenwillow Wines is a boutique family business which specializes in super-premium, red wines from the Bendigo Region. We specialize in shiraz, cabernet sauvignon and the Italian varieties nebbiolo and barbera. Our business has grown steadily over the last few years to a stage where I am very happy. My business goal is not to make a fortune, but to produce the very best wines possible, enjoy the vineyard work, continue the involvement of friends and family and maybe make a modest profit. My goal is to continue to receive great wine reviews from James Halliday, and perhaps pick up a few more trophies and gold medals. I also plan to expand my wine sales and distribution to selected quality wine outlets in Melbourne. With the support of SOC past players , officials and supporters, I hope to provide great Bendigo wine to many more winelovers in Melbourne. So, jump on board my website (or email me) and join my Glenwillow “Cellar Club” for great information and wine specials at www.glenwillow.com.au.
Q: What do you see as the positives for past players in using the SOC business directory?
I would like to see a strong following for all businesses in the SOC Business Directory amongst all the Carlton “family”. We all share a passion for the Navy Blues and by supporting SOC Past Players & Officials we are continuing the friendships and connections that we have made in the past and perhaps develop new commercial relationships. This all helps to build a stronger club network of friends and businesses, both large and small. For the SOC Business Directory to work, we all need to support each other and use the opportunities that this great idea can provide.
Q: What advice would you give current players given your experience pre and post football?
Despite what we all may think, football has a very limited life, and our bodies and minds are only at their peak for a few years. Enjoy football at the highest level you possibly can, continue the friendships you have made in sport into life after football. Prepare well for the transition from elite sport (and the rarefied environment that often surrounds AFL clubs) to normal life without the hype and intensity of AFL. Develop interesting skills and follow your passions after footy. Maintain your friendships as they can be easily forgotten when clubmates leave and grow old. And most of all …”remember the good old times”…